Embracing Water
Engaging Cooperatives Towards Productive Landscapes

Fall 2021
Harvard University Graduate School of Design
Advised by Lorena Bello Gomez
Collaboration with Lauren Duda, Ying Dong

Situated in the former liquid territory of the Tochac lagoon and the settlement of Lázaro Cárdenas, our project aims to intertwine people, culture, and the earth's natural cycles in enriching the livelihoods of the region. Within an area that is subject to a continuous drought: one that is defined to be climatic and ecological, but also economic and cultural our main values are to:

1. Preserve the cultural patrimony of the area by embracing traditional farming techniques of polycultures.
2. Engage with the natural cycles
3. Support the local economy by actively engaging the community and tourists

Synthesis map (left) superimposing the risks of drought and climate change to the local archives of cultural heritage and traditional farming practices in the territory of Apan, along with a timeline drawing (right) illustrating the transformation of the territory from the pure geologic ground (bottom right) to the exisitng land use patterns of agricultural production (top right). 

Βasemaps illustrating the larger hydrologic infrastructure that is draining the formerly liquid territory (top left), the extensive deforestation in the mountainous areas, the resulted soil erosion and the points of aquifer depletion (bottom left), the predominantly agricultural land use and the trasportation infrastructure (top right), and the ownership system of the territory which largely falls under the “ejido” governance system (bottom right). 

Proposed masterplan for Lazaro Cardenas.

Transect of the proposal from the upland mountainous areas  to the lagoon (bottom) and systems and cycles that are embedded in the design proposal, including the water cycles, the restoration of biodiversity through reforestation, and the recovery of traditional farming practices (top).

Plan of implementatio, which is color-coded here in three phases (bottom) and diagrams of the evolution of the landscape along the transect (top). 

“Calendario de la Tierra y la Cultura” (Calendar of the Earth and of Culture), illustrating the yearly events that would take place at Lazaro Cardenas, connecting the agricultural patterns, to the climatic and water cycles, and to the place’s cultural heritage.

Series of posters illustrating the various yearly events (included in the calendar) which would engage all the territories along the transect of the design proposal, from the mountains to the agricultural fields, to the urban settlement, and to the lagoon